"I know nothing but shadows and thought them to be real." -Oscar Wilde
Have you ever seen anything so beautiful you were completely mesmerized by it? With color reflecting that of the deep blue sea and weighing 45.52 carats, her beauty lures in the least suspecting admirers.
The origin of the Hope Diamond dates all the way back to the 17th Century, from a mine in Guntur, India. The legend goes that the curse fell upon the gem when it was stolen from a sacred idol. However, there are many noted versions of this tale, one thing for certain is bad luck struck those who have fallen under her spell.
Purchased by a man named Jean-Baptise Tavenier in 1666, the Hope Diamond was originally titled the Tavenier Blue and weighed an estimated 115 carats.
There are mixed reports on the fate of Mr. Tavenier, some say he died of illness, some say he was ravaged by wolves.
King Louis the XIV acquired the gem in 1668, had it re-cut to 67.125 carat and then titled it the French Blue. Sadly King Louis died of gangrene in 1715, not all that uncommon for the time period. However all his children, a recorded total of 17, died but one.
After the reign of Louis the XIV it was bequeathed to Louis the VX, then down to
Louis the VXI and his wife, Marie Antoinette.
The legend continues with infamous Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette when it was rumored that Marie Antoinette had trouble with conceiving an heir. While there is no evidence that Marie Antoinette actually wore the diamond, we do know they both met their fate with the guillotine in 1793. Was it the curse? It is unknown for certain, unfortunately the Crown Jewels were stolen when the royal couple were captured trying to flee France in 1791 and the French Blue was lost.
The French Blue resurfaces around 20 years later, re-cut by a Dutch jeweler named Wilhelm Fals.
Allegedly it was re-cut to hide is original identity from the French authorities. Wilhelm Fals suffered his own ill fate when his son stole the diamond and committed suicide after murdering his father. French Blue was once again lost in history.
The stone surfaced in London around 1839 by Henri Philip Hope in a published catalog of the gem collection. This is when she became known as the Hope Diamond. Over the next 7o plus years the Hope Diamond gets passed down to various family members, all whom receive their own challenges and pifalls- death and financial trouble seem to follow them round.
Which leads us to Pierre Cartier, a French jeweler who acquires the stone in 1910. Cartier purchases the diamond with a potential buyer already in mind a Mrs. Evalyn Walsh McLean, the wife of Washington Post tycoon Edward Beale McLean.
The story goes- Evalyn Walsh McLean was warned by her mother-in-law not to purchase the Hope Diamond due to it's cursed past.
The mother-in-law died some time after Evalyn acquired the gem. This was just the beginning of the misfortune that started to follow Evalyn.
First son Vinson died at the age of 9, hit by a car. Daughter Evalyn Washington "Evie" McLean died at the age of 24, of a suspected drug overdose.
Evalyn was was sued by Cartier for non-payment, after her husband filed for divorce, then he died in 1941. Owing huge debts she was forced to sell the newspaper- The Washington Post and lost her fortune.
Evalyn Walsh McLean died in April 26, 1947 of pneumonia, leaving behind 2 children.
In 1958 Harry Winston purchases the diamond but quickly donates it the the Smithsonian Institution.
The Cape Town Diamond Museum reports- "In 1958, the jeweller donated the 45.2-carat diamond to the Smithsonian Institution, sending it through the US Mail for only $2.44 in postage and $155 in insurance.
Whilst no harm seemed to come to the famous jeweller, the mailman who delivered the diamond to the Smithsonian apparently had an accident in a truck accident shortly thereafter.
He also suffered a head injury in a separate accident. To add to his list of bad luck, his house burned down."
The Hope Diamond has remained in the Smithsonian for over 6 decades and has been viewed by millions over the years. Today it is estimated to be valued at around $250 million.
So, the question remains, is the Hope Diamond cursed? We'll let you decide...